Author Wednesday – Michael Patrick Hicks

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Welcome to another installment of Author Wednesday. Michael Patrick Hicks joins me today to talk about his first novel Convergence. This science fiction technothriller features Jonah Everitt as your everyday drug addict, memory thief, and killer. There’s bound to be an edge-of-your-seat story in the telling of his journey! convergence-800-cover-reveal-and-promotional

 

Hello Michael! Your book sounds exciting and chilling at the same time. Tell us a little bit about yourself as a writer before we delve into the plot of Convergence. When did you first discover your voice as a writer?

Probably in high school. I always dabbled with writing as a hobby, but in my senior year of high school–way back when now–I decided to get a little bit serious about it and took a creative writing course. I wasn’t quite prepared for the worlds it opened up for me, and I completely fell in love with the art. I’ve been writing pretty much ever since, in one form or another, either as a news writer, a blogger, a reviewer, or as a novelist.

Even though most of us writers know we’re writers on the inside, it sometimes takes a bit to announce it to the world. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

After getting a degree in journalism and picking up several freelance writing gigs with local newspapers and websites, I felt pretty confident in calling myself a “writer,” since I was getting paid to do writerly things. The “author” label came a little bit later, and that was a title I’d wanted to hold for quite a long time. Once I completed work on my sci-fi thriller, Convergence, and it ranked as a quarter-finalist with pretty strong praise from Publisher’s Weekly in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 contest, I felt a little bit closer to the title. In 2014, I went all-in and self-published and have zero regrets. Now I feel pretty comfortable calling myself a writer, author, and publisher. My work is just getting started!

First of all, congratulations on the making it to the quarterfinals. That’s a great achievement. Sometimes it takes that nudge to be able to use the more lofty title of “author.” Tell us about your writing rituals. 

When I start a project and have a decent enough outline or grasp of the material and have done enough research to get the ball rolling, my only ritual is this: A thousand words a day, minimum, at least five days a week. It’s pretty cut and dry, but it works for me. Oh, and coffee. Or whiskey. Or both.

I’m impressed. I always pictured myself at a typewriter like the one I use at the opening of Author Wednesday with a cigarette and a shot of whiskey. I keep the picture in my mind, but I type far too fast for a manual, I quit smoking twenty years ago, and I somehow lose my train of thought when I drink whiskey. Perhaps I should have tried it with coffee. What’s going on in your writing life these days? 

At the moment, I’m putting the finishing touches on a short story called Consumption, which I’m planning to release in the fall. It’s a horror story centered around a group of guests eating some meals they really shouldn’t be enjoying. It’s my attempt at doing something quite a bit different than Convergence, while still staying in the realm of speculative fiction. There’s a pretty strong Lovecraftian-vibe to the work, and maybe this story will break some ground in a new food-gore genre.

I’m also working on my next novel, Emergence, which is a sequel to Convergence, and will be sending that off to my editors soon. That should be released in the first half of 2015, so stay tuned for more details!

That’s impressive. The plot concept for Consumption is fantastic. You write generally in the same genre, but do these novels have common themes or messages? 

I’d wager that loss is a pretty common theme in my work, and the attempt to recapture something of the past. It’s certainly predominate in both Convergence and its forthcoming follow-up, and, in quite a different way, with Consumption, as well. And it comes about in different ways – coping with the death of a loved one, trying to find your child, loss of innocence, loss of peace, or recapturing a bit of forgotten history or attempting to provoke loss through devastation.

That’s a powerful theme, and one that all people share. Why have you chosen to write about this particular theme?

Loss is a pretty universal emotion, and I think we’re all pretty empathetic in these struggles. I know I’ve certainly lost a great deal, and there have been a few personal battles I can draw from. As a theme, it’s one that resonates pretty deeply with me.

The best writing occurs when we have a passionate connection to the subject. Let’s talk about the characters in your novels. Do you have a favorite character that you created?

I really like writing Mesa Everitt, the daughter of my main protagonist in Convergence. She’s brash and wounded and spunky. We don’t see too much of her in the first book, but she has a much larger role to play in the next book, and it was really fun getting inside her head for a while. I like strong, tough women, like Buffy and Veronica Mars, (and my wife, of course!) so Mesa has a bit of that in her, but maybe with a little bit more of a punk vibe.

I’m glad you added your wife! Are you planning to continue writing in the same genre?

Looking at my writing plans and the ideas I’ve got brewing for the next few books, yeah, speculative fiction will definitely be my home base, genre-wise. It’s a wide field, though, one that’s very broadly defined and has all kinds of different flavors. I can dabble in sci-fi, or maybe thrillers that just have a bit of an advanced technological bent to it, and horror or fantasy. Really, anything that has a bit “what if” somewhere in the premise. So, yeah, I’ll be sticking around in this genre for a while.

What’s the best thing said about Convergence by a reviewer?

Early-on in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, one of my Vine reviewers, who was judging the excerpt round, said “This isn’t a genre I generally read, but I want to be able to read the rest of this book so I know wtf is going on.” These words brought a huge smile to my face, and I’m pretty proud of having elicited such a reaction. It was a huge compliment!

Yes, it is. Anytime you can draw in the reader, you’ve hit pay dirt. What’s your one sentence pitch for Convergence?

Memory thief and addict, Jonah Everitt, scours the war-torn ruins of Los Angeles to find his abducted daughter.

Sounds very intriguing. How did you choose the title?

The title reflects a few different things about what’s happening in the book – on one level, there’s the convergence of mankind becoming enmeshed with technology, there’s the convergence of past events rippling out and into the lives of people in the present, and it’s the name of a certain data-grouping algorithm that’s used in the book, called the Convergence Web.

While the title of book one has been the same since day one, I had tossed around a few different titles for book two. In early drafts, it was going to be called Divergence, but then I heard about Veronica Roth’s Divergent and didn’t want to muddy the waters too much and confuse readers. Also, some pretty significant things happened plot-wise that prompted me to change it, and I felt that Convergence was a more evocative and suitable title.

I’m going to ask the question I often am asked. How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?

The central idea, that is the idea of the technology at the center of this book, came from a science news story back in 1999, so it’s been with me for quite some time. I wrote Convergence over the summer of 2011 and did my first round of edits in time to submit to the Harper Voyager Open Door period. I never heard anything back from them, and put the book into Amazon’s contest in 2013. So, roughly four months of writing, and at least another six for editing and then second draft work, and then I had it professionally edited after the Amazon contest ran its course.

Is the book traditionally or self-published?

The book is self-published simply because I wanted to retain control over it, and the royalties in self-publishing are much better than they are in traditional publishing, particularly for a newbie like me, who would probably have to carry a lot of the burden of marketing on his own anyway. Given that, author-publishing seemed like a more suitable field to experiment with. I’d gotten strong praise from Publisher’s Weekly and advance readers thanks to the Amazon Breakthrough contest, so I felt pretty comfortable in tackling the role of going Indie and putting together my own team of editors, designers, and formatters, and releasing the book straight to readers without the support of a publishing house.

I agree with you. I’ve gone both ways and after a few years and a few books with traditional publishers, I dropped out. I emerged when the Indie movement began gaining momentum. You might still be waiting for Convergence to be published if you went the trad route. What is the best thing someone could say about Convergence?

“I loved it! Where’s the next one?!”

That’s the highest praise ever. Thank you so much for stopping by today, Michael. I enjoyed getting to know you and hearing about another genre of fiction.

Hicks PhotoAbout Michael – Michael Patrick Hicks has worked as a probation officer, a comic book reviewer, news writer and photographer, and, now, author. His work has appeared in various newspapers in Michigan, as well as several The University of Michigan publications, and websites, such as Graphic Novel Reporter and Leelanau.com. He holds two bachelor’s degrees from The University of Michigan in Journalism & Screen Studies and Behavioral Science. His first novel is Convergence.

Links to Michael and his books:

Website: http://michaelpatrickhicks.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeH5856

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ILD61O2

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/convergence-michael-patrick-hicks/1118732021?ean=2940148329916

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/convergence-21

 

#New Release – Odyssey to Myself

Odyssey to Myself is now a book of essays from my travels during the past decade. The book is available in paperback and on Kindle.

Click here for Kindle version

Click on cover for Kindle version

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Click on cover for paperback

Odyssey to Myself is a world travel guide for trips to Morocco, Italy, Panama, Chile, and down Route 66 in the United States. The compilation of essays show Muslim women dressed in hijabs and working in Casablanca. Moroccan history and food provide a colorful backdrop as the author explores her place in the world.

About Odyssey to Myself:

Take a trip to Casablanca, Marrakech, Tuscany, Bocas del Toro, and Santiago as P.C. Zick writes about her experiences traveling outside the confines of her small world. Observations about life and culture bring to life the sights, sounds, and smells of the ancient alleyways of Fes, the masters of Italy, and the strategic location of Panama. The people of Morocco, Italy, Panama, and Chile come to life through the experiences of the author as she absorbs the cultures so different from her own.

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A Couscous Luncheon in Casablanca

From Odyssey to Myself:

“Traveling removes us from our small safe environment and thrusts out into the world. When I travel, I realize what a tiny ripple my life is in the ocean’s constant waves. A few months ago, I had to endure a full body MRI that lasted more than two hours. I almost swooned when the nurse told me how long I’d be in that long encompassing tunnel. She recommended I remain awake because if I moved after falling asleep, they’d have to pull me out and begin again. I did not want that to happen. My brain fought against any touch of claustrophobia as they closed me in the tube and sent me inside the machine. I frantically searched through the files in my brain. With a little prayer for help, I went into the tube and decided to travel in my memories back to the most important trips of my life.

The first trip I remembered was my visit to Morocco in 2004. I knew it was a watershed year as many things had been happening in my life, and I went on the trip to heal and find direction. I began with my arrival in Casablanca in the early morning hours after flying all night from New York City. It came back so vividly I could even smell and feel the air of my travels during a magical two weeks. Then I started on Italy from 2005, where my daughter and I went for a month to celebrate her graduation from college. I’d only gotten through the first two days when I heard a voice say they were pulling me out of the tunnel. I cursed silently, thinking I must have moved as I remembered walking the streets of Milan and marveling at all the beautiful shoes.

“You were a great patient,” the nurse said. “It didn’t take quite two hours, but almost. You’re done.”

That’s the beauty of travel. It removes us from our world into a kaleidoscope of colors, smells, noises, and textures. This book explores some of those experiences as I embarked on an odyssey to find myself during one of the darkest decades of my life.”

Drinking from the fountain in Assisi

Drinking from the fountain in Assisi

Author Wednesday – Rebekah Lyn

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Welcome to Author Wednesday and an interview with Rebekah Lyn, the author of several Christian novels. Her stories are filled with faith, hope, and adventure. Today, she’s here to tell us a little bit more about her latest release, Jessie, the second book in the Coastal Chronicles. Jesse, a young adult coming-of-age story, is set in the 1960s in Indian River City, Florida, near Cape Canaveral where the race to the moon captured the hearts of and minds of young and old. As a result, Rebekah scheduled the release of the book to coincide with the forty-fifth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.3d cover Jessie

Welcome Rebekah. I love meeting new authors and finding out how they discovered their voice as authors. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

I’ve always considered myself a writer, but I never really talked to anyone about my writing until 2001 when I met another friend who enjoyed writing. The conversations we had, coupled with some difficult times I was going through, really sparked me to write more. It took ten years for me to decide I had anything I wanted to publish, but without that friendship, I may never have pursued this path.

I know that you write Christian fiction and have two series. Are there any special themes or messages that you try to convey to your readers?

I write inspirational fiction because I want people to have hope and know joy. I’ve been through dark times and struggled with my faith, so I understand how others can lose hope. I want my stories to be entertaining and, in the case of Jessie, mixed with humor. My characters are overcomers, and by the end of the book, I want my readers to feel that way, too. When a reader lets me know how a book touched their heart I feel like I’ve done my job well.

Yes, that’s a very important aspect of being an author. It can keep us going for a long time. Tell us a little bit about your current projects.

My new release, Jessie, is my first foray into historical fiction, as well as what may be considered young adult fiction. The main characters are teenage boys, but the message is something everyone from age five to ninety-five can benefit from. I am also starting to work on the third book in the Seasons of Faith series

What’s your one sentence pitch for Jessie?

From tide pools to technology, follow Jessie’s emotional journey from a young boy enthralled with the United States race for the moon taking place just a few miles from his home to a young man overcoming many obstacles to pursue his dream.

How did you choose the title? Has it been the title from the very beginning?

The first book in the Coastal Chronicles was Julianne so I decided to keep all of the books the name of the lead character. I’ve toyed with the idea of making all the leads in the Chronicles start with J, but I don’t know if that will pan out. The characters usually tell me their own names.

That’s true. It might be difficult to pin yourself down. I’m always asked about how long it took me to write a book so I’ll ask you the same question. How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?

I don’t remember when exactly the idea first came to me, but I started research in October 2012, and the book was finally completed in April  2014. I chose to release the book to coincide with the forty-fifth anniversary of the moon landing since that event is a crucial element of the story.

That’s an excellent idea. Tell us about the antagonist of the book.

Jessie’s father, Eugene, would probably be considered the antagonist. He’s an alcoholic and has abused both Jessie and his older brother Max. Even though Eugene isn’t a very active character in the story, he is always present in Jessie’s mind.

If you listen to music while you’re writing, what is it?

I tend to choose music that fits the storyline of the character I am working on that day. For Jessie, I listened to music from the 1950s and 1960s. For my Seasons of Faith books, I have different bands for each character that I listen to when I am writing in their point of view.

That’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a writer doing that before, but it makes perfect sense. How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

Since I am a single lady, my parents are my biggest supporters, and I couldn’t do this without them. My mom helps with marketing and brings me food when I’m in a really good writing groove. My dad is handy and has made me some beautiful easels for my book as well as a prize wheel I can take with me to the variety of festivals in my hometown where I’ve started selling books. I have also enlisted my teenage niece and her friend to make signature jewelry to give out at teas where I meet with readers and talk about books. I think my cat gets a bit annoyed when I am in the zone and don’t take time off the computer to give her attention. She gets over that pretty fast when I fill her treat bowl, though.

How wonderful to have such a supportive family. If a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?

Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights and Nashville. She is a fighter and never gives up, but most of all I love her Southern Exasperation, the way a southern woman can say more with facial expressions than most can with words, a tilt of the head or a pat on the hand.

She’s a good choice. Rebekah, it’s been wonderful having you visit today, and I wish you tremendous success in your writing career. The world needs as much hope and inspiration as possible.

author Rebekah LynAbout Rebekah Lyn – Rebekah is a popular Indie Author with a strong following of loyal readers who enjoy her inspirational novels of faith, adventure, and hope. She is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings, and her desire is to reflect that in each of her books. Rebekah writes character-driven novels, which she hopes will engulf the reader in a great story and leave them stronger in their faith. One Summer Storms reviewer said, “Something about this author’s writing style reminds me of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series.” Her first published novel was released in October, 2011, and three of her current books have received solid ratings in the Christian Fiction category on Amazon.com. She has two distinct series developed, with further books planned for each series.

Contact Rebekah

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It’s Monday! What are you reading? “Live from the Road”

P. C. Zick:

Lovely review from another lovely writer, Lori Crane! And Live from the Road is only .99 cents on Kindle this month.

Originally posted on a day in the life of patootie:

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I’m reading one of my favorite authors…

PC Zick

“Live from the Road”

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“Live from the Road” is a story of two friends, Meg and Sally, and their road trip across Route 66. They are escorted by their grown daughters, and the four women each have their own personal demons to face during the trip. Some of their struggles are shared with each other, some kept private.

There were idiosyncrasies in this story that made me giggle. At each stop, they invite whomever they ran into to join them, and a lot of people strangely took them up on the offer. I would never be that open to invite strangers to join my vacation, but I have some girlfriends who would do something that crazy, so it’s not all-together impossible. At one point, they had four or five cars in their caravan. I thought the concept of strangers joining on one’s vacation…

View original 438 more words

Author Wednesday – Stacy Juba

???????????????????????????????Welcome to another installment of Author Wednesday. Stacy Juba loves to write stories about Characters at a Crossroads, who are those individuals trying to find the right life path after overcoming obstacles. Her choice has resulted in a successful writing career. Her latest offering, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, has been described as both a cozy mystery and a romantic suspense. 25 YearsFrontCover web versionIt’s with great pleasure that I introduce you to Stacy Juba.

Welcome, Stacy. I’m always curious about the writer’s journey. Tell us when you were first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

My first book, a young adult hockey novel called Face-Off, was originally published in the early 1990s when I was eighteen years old. I entered it in a contest and the manuscript won. That was when I was first able to call myself an author. It was quite exciting to see the book in bookstores and to get letters from readers.

That must have been a very exciting time and certainly the right time to call yourself an author. Tell us about the message you try to convey in your works.

I write about characters at a crossroads in their lives – a fork in the road where they can either take a chance and follow a new path, or continue down the same road that hasn’t been leading anywhere. I write books for different age groups (adult, YA and children’s) and in different genres that range from mystery to romantic comedy to sports fiction, but no matter what the age group or genre, this is a theme that I always incorporate.

What made you chose to write about characters facing this type of situation?

I didn’t consciously set out to write about characters at a crossroads. In fact, I didn’t realize at first that I was writing about this theme until I took a workshop on branding and was challenged to examine all of my books and find an underlying common thread. It was pointed out to me that my website needed to reflect some kind of common theme. After giving it a lot of thought, I realized that I was writing about characters at a fork in the road. I think I was drawn to this theme because it’s so universal. We all find ourselves at forks in the roads from time to time, and we need to decide whether to take the easy way or the harder, yet potentially more fulfilling, way. Sometimes the hard way is scarier as it is so new. I wanted to highlight this aspect of my work so that readers might ponder their own forks in the road and give some thought to what they really want and how they can get there.

Since you write in different genres, what’s on the agenda for your next books?

I plan to continue writing adult mystery novels, but I am also finishing up my first romantic comedy/sweet romance. I am having fun with the latter genre as it shows my lighter side, and I plan to do more romantic comedies in the future.

Excellent. I find it’s so important to stretch our writing selves. How did you choose the title Twenty-Five Years Ago Today? Has it been the title from the very beginning?

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today was the title from the very beginning. It was an easy title to choose, as the book is about a newspaper editorial assistant who compiles “twenty-five years ago today” items from the microfilm and stumbles onto a cold case.

I love the concept. What’s is the best thing someone could say about this book?

I get a lot of comments about the twist ending. Most people are surprised by the ending. I enjoy it when someone notes in a review that they love a book that surprises them.
How much research was required?

I once had the same job as my protagonist, Kris Langley, who is a newspaper editorial assistant, obit writer, and reporter. One of my tasks was compiling the “twenty-five years ago today” column from the microfilm. As a result, I didn’t need to research any of the newsroom scenes; however, I did interview a police chief about unsolved crimes. I also did research for the Greek mythology subplot. In the book, the murder victim, Diana Ferguson, was an artist inspired by Greek myths. I have always loved Greek mythology and was familiar with many myths, but needed to do some research to refresh my memory. One of the paintings holds a clue to Diana’s death, and I needed to find just the right myth to portray in the painting.

What else do you want readers to know about Twenty-Five Years Ago Today?

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today also has a spin-off book called Twenty-Five Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back, which is free at many retailers. In the book, authors write about what they (or their characters) were doing twenty-five years ago. It’s funny, touching, and makes readers think about the small moments in their lives. There is also a scene about what Diana Ferguson, the murder victim in Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, was doing on the last day of her life. Click here for the link to find the retailers.

Thank you for stopping by today, Stacy. I’m reading Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and hope to write a review very soon. My best to you in your writing  endeavors.

Butch AdamsAbout Stacy Juba:  Her goals are to entertain readers of all ages as well as inspire them. She has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers. Stacy has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag.

Click on retailers for Twenty-Five Years Ago Today:
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Author Wednesday – Rachelle Ayala

Today Rachelle Ayala stops by to announce the release of her new romance Played by Love.

The World Cup is over, but Comic-Con is coming up!!! If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a soccer goalie meets a cosplay girl, check out Jaden Sloup and Ella Kennedy in Rachelle Ayala’s newest book, Played by Love.

 

Description:
Soccer goalkeeper, Jaden Sloup, has his eye on Ella Kennedy, a woman who won’t date jocks or frat boys. He dons a pair of nerd glasses and hugs a laptop to convince her he’s a techno geek, and she agrees to go to Las Vegas with him for a cosplay convention where his team’s playoff game happens to be.

 

Jaden must juggle sizzling in the sheets with Ella against a soccer match and hanging with his frat brother teammates. When a bully harasses Ella and challenges Jaden to a fight, he proves that even a goalie can score.

 

From the Author:
Played by Love is the first in a series of exciting sports novellas in my new #Played Series. They are fast, flirty, and sexy, a quick read at the beach or poolside, or in between running errands. I hope you enjoy Jaden and Ella’s story because there’s more to come. Look for Playing the Rookie heating up Spring Training in Arizona, and more.
WARNING: must be over 18 to read, so fasten your seatbelts, because sporty men and enthusiastic women make the very best lovers.
Played by Love is available from Amazon only and available through Amazon’s #KindleUnlimited plan! Pick up your copy before Comic-con and see what fabulous costumes Ella comes up with.

Author Wednesday – James Moushon

typewriter.jpgIt’s another edition of Author Wednesday here at Writing Whims. Today I am pleased to feature James Moushon who is a stellar promoter of Indie Authors through various blogs (The eBook Author’s Corner, HBS Author’s Spotlight, and HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle). When he’s not promoting the rest of us, he’s busy writing his own mystery and thriller novels. He’s just released the second book in the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels, Game of Fire. moushon1-gamefire

James, welcome to Author Wednesday. It’s a pleasure to return the favor by featuring you today as an author. Let’s talk a bit about your writing life. What’s an average day for you as writer, blogger, and promoter of Indie Authors?

I usually spend the first two hours working on a book I’m writing or a short story. Then I switch gears and start working on my three blogs. I try to do at least one post a day. All my blogs are book and author related so my research is sort of mixed together. In the evening I try to relax and do some social media things. Boring right.

I think it sounds very organized. For someone who does so many different things, it’s probably essential. Put your writer hat on now. Who has most influenced your writing and why?

Ernest Hemingway. I was fortunate enough to meet a Hemingway scholar when I was in college. I write about things I have experienced and visualized.

There’s no one better to serve as an example. You’ve been writing mystery/thriller novels. Is there another genre or form you’d like to try?

Short stories. I plan on publishing a bundle of six short stories this summer, featuring my leading character, Jonathon Stone.

Speaking of Jonathon Stone, do all your books have a common theme or thread?

All my books, so far, have a Mystery and Espionage theme with a CIA agent chasing down the bad guys and terrorists. One of the things that makes it unique is the action for the most part is in the United States, which is an off-books adventure.

Tell us about your favorite character from your novels.

Jonathon Stone, CIA agent at large. He likes action. He likes to gamble. He likes the ladies with drinking a close second. Although I am not as lucky as Jon, I like to gamble.

That’s the beauty of writing fiction. We can make our characters into the person we’d most like to be. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

Here’s my favorite review of Game of Fire: “That’s pretty much my criteria for how good a book is. If I keep putting it down, I probably won’t finish it. Trust me, you won’t be putting Game of Fire down. The story of former CIA Agent Jonathan Stone and his relationship with Jodi Shannon is wonderful, as is the fast-paced unfolding of the plot. I live in the part of California where the novel takes places and because of the author’s integrity to time and place, I can only assume that the bomb making and everything else is just as valid. I didn’t just like this book, I’m hooked on Jonathon Stone and the author’s style of writing. Thank you for providing such a great read!”

That’s a wonderful review, which gives us a view into the plot. What’s your one sentence pitch for Game of Fire?

CIA agent Jonathon Stone hunts for an arsonist linked to terrorism and espionage.

I’m hooked. How did you choose the title?

Game of Fire: The story starts with an explosion in Little Saigon, California during the Tet Festival Parade. The year was 2007 and the Vietnamese were celebrating the year of the Fire Pig. The cover has the Chinese characters announcing the event.

What type of research did you do in the writing of this book?

I lived in the area for years and experienced the celebration many times.

With your busy schedule, it’s hard to imagine you having down time, but when you do, what do you like to do?

Right now it is summer time, and I’m watching baseball almost every day. I love the game. Oh yeah, I watch the game with a laptop close by.

I bet you do. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you a little better, James. I appreciate all that you do to support us Indies. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for having me.

moushon1About James Moushon – Born in Illinois, James Moushon is a published writer in the electronic document field. Moushon is a graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, IL.

He is the author of the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels. moushon1-bms300He has published three books: Call Off the Dogs, Black Mountain Secrets, and newly released Game of Fire.

Starting more than fifteen years ago, he helped lead the start up of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion, and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products, and training seminars. In 2003, Moushon changed his focus to eBbooks and their development.

He is currently wearing three hats. He is a mystery writer, book publishing blogger, and a computer consultant. He has spent the majority of his adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing.

James can be found all over the Internet. Click on titles below to find him.

Links to books

Black Mountain Secrets

Game of Fire

And social media sites

Twitter: @jimhbs

Email    james.moushon@gmail.com

Facebook

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Goodreads

And blog/site links

Website: James Moushon – Mystery Writer:

HBS The eBook Author’s Corner

HBS Author’s Spotlight

Book Review Friday – Gone Girl

GoneGirl

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn surprised me. I thought it was simply a novel about a disintegrating marriage. There is nothing “simply” about this story. Since my review is the 19,852nd of Gone Girl, others must have some strong feelings about the novel as well.

I really don’t know how I feel about it. Is it well written? Absolutely. Is it suspenseful? Without a doubt. Is it surprising? There’s nothing mundane and ordinary about this plot or its characters. For those reasons, the novel deserves somewhere around ten stars instead of the standard five stars. The score balances out in the creepy department. Gone Girl thoroughly creeped me out and made me thankful that the significant relationships in my life thus far resemble a television series similar to Leave it to Beaver.

The author changes point of view in each chapter. Just when I thought the husband Nick was the bad guy, the wife Amy jumps in with her story, and the pendulum swings. It’s interesting that the person narrating in any particular chapter doesn’t always come off as the good guy. Nick represents himself as shallow, sneaky, and uncaring. Amy can show a side that’s, well, just plain creepy. No other word for it. Then when it’s almost unbearable, Amy becomes the victim once again.

Because every single chapter is its own little mystery verse, I can’t say much else without giving a spoiler. If you can stand folks who are usually unlikable; if you like a unique storytelling technique; if you like to explore the nether regions of the human psyche; and if you “simply” want a read where you are reluctant to put the book down, then read Gone Girl. It’s worth any stain of creepdom left on your brain.

Author Wednesday – J.J. DiBenedetto

???????????????????????????????I welcome J.J. (James) DiBenedetto to Author Wednesday. James is the author of the paranormal romance Dream Series. The seven books in this series are James’ first published work, but it’s a prolific batch of fiction. The titles: Dream Student, Dream Doctor, Dream Child, Dream Family, Waking Dream, Dream Reunion, and Dream Home.EbookDreamStudentCoverSmallerDreamDoctorCoverSmaller

 

 

 

 

Hello, James. It’s nice to have you here today. You’ve written seven books in your Dream Series, which is very impressive. I wonder if you convey the same messages or themes in all of your books. 

I didn’t really set out to preach or to convey any particular message, but as the books have gone on, I see my beliefs coming through. I think the books emphasize the importance of compassion, and empathy, and a healthy respect for the power you have (whatever kind of power that is) and the importance of taking responsibility for your actions, no matter the cost.

That’s interesting. I do that with my own work, and before I know it a message emerges, which conveys my own belief system. Do you have a favorite character that you created?

Sara, the heroine of the Dream Series – I couldn’t have written seven (and counting!) books about her if I didn’t love her. What I like best about her is that while she is the heroine, and she does save the day, she’s definitely flawed and very human. She gets jealous and angry and has very irrational moments. And while she always tries to do the right thing, she sometimes has a lot of trouble figuring out what that actually is.

I bet you have fun putting her in new situations and deciding how she will react. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

I really loved one review of Dream Doctor, which takes place during Sara’s first month of medical school, where the reviewer wondered if I was a doctor or otherwise involved in medicine, because the book rang so true. That was high praise for the research I did, because other than going to the doctor myself when I’m sick, I’m about as far as you can get from that!

What’s your one sentence pitch for the series?

“What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?” – that’s the pitch for the entire series, really.

That’s an intriguing concept. No wonder you’ve written seven books with a character you love and a great idea. How long do you estimate it took you to take the series from an idea to a finished, published?

Fifteen years or so! I had the first idea in 1997 or so, and I wrote a (pretty bad) novel-length first draft. Then, I rewrote that to a slightly better second draft. And then it just sat there on my computer for a really long time, until, in 2012, a friend sold her first novel to a publisher, and I said to myself, “Hey, if she can do it, so can I!” I dusted off the old draft, rewrote it again–changing the whole thing from third person POV to first person, which was what the story needed all along, only I hadn’t realized it for such a long time–and then the next three books followed, one right after the other.

Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in one of the books

My favorite scene in Dream Student is a quiet and touching scene between Sara and her father, where she admits to him how much she loves her new boyfriend.

Let’s talk about your writing life. If you listen to music while you’re writing, what is it?

Usually classical music, and always something I’m very familiar with. If it’s music with lyrics, or something new, I get distracted too easily – it has to be something that’s just “there” so that it provides some comfort but I can still keep focused on what I’m doing.

I’m the same way. No lyrics allowed while writing. How about setting. Do you set your books in the place you live?

Places I live, places I used to live, places I visited, all of that! Sara’s college in Dream Student is my college with the names changed; the apartment building she lives in in Dream Family is the building I lived in when I first moved to Washington, D.C.; her mother-in-law’s house is modeled on my cousin’s old house. “Write what you know,” right?

Thanks for stopping by today, James. It’s been a pleasure to learn a bit more about you and your work. Happy writing.

IMG_1771About J.J. – J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve University, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.

He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he’s not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.

Links to books and social media sites

http://viewAuthor.at/JJDiBenedetto (Amazon Author page)

http://getBook.at/DreamStudent (book #1 on Amazon)

http://getBook.at/DreamStudentAudio (book #1 on audiobook)

http://getBook.at/DreamDoctor (book #2 on Amazon)

http://getBook.at/DreamHome (latest book – #7 – on Amazon)

http://www.writingdreams.net (blog)

http://www.writingdreams.net/audio (audiobook samples of all books available on audiobook)

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