The Christmas Carol (Box Collection) Contest 

love chrismas mimi


 Calling all Christmas lovers!

Do you love the music of the holiday season? If so, the Authors’ Billboard needs your attention! This coming 2016 Christmas, twenty of our authors—New York Times and USA Today Bestsellers—will be putting together a multi-author box collection of brand new, never before published stories to dazzle everyone, but we require your participation.

The title of our collection will be LOVE, CHRISTMAS and the theme of this bundle will be Christmas carols. We want to use YOUR favorite holiday songs. If you and your song title are chosen, one of the 20 novellas will be dedicated to you.

Sound like fun? Please enter the contest by naming your special carols in the contest entry form by clicking here.

You may enter as many times as you like. So what are you waiting for?

Here’s what the winners will receive:

  1. Twenty winners will have his/her favorite song chosen as the title and possibly the theme for one of the novellas.
  2. That particular story will be dedicated to the winner— twenty in total.
  3. And the winners will receive a free copy of the box set (eBook only).

Ho, ho, ho! And good luck!

The authors involved in this great contest are:

Leanne Banks – NY Times & USAToday, National #1 Best-selling author

Mimi Barbour – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Nina Bruhns – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Joan Reeves – NY Times & USAToday, Best-selling author

Mona Risk – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Patricia Rosemoor – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Rebecca York – NY Times & USA Today, Best-selling author

Denise Devine – USA Today, Best-selling author

Donna Fasano – USA Today,Best-selling author

Traci Hall – USA Today,Best-selling author

Taylor Lee – USA Today,Best-selling author

Stephanie Queen – USA Today,Best-selling author

Jennifer St. Giles – USA Today,Best-selling author

Alicia Street – USA Today,Best-selling author

Ari Thatcher – USA Today,Best-selling author

Rachelle Ayala – Best-selling author

Jacquie Biggar – Best-selling author

Michele Hauf – Best-selling author

Dani Haviland – Best-selling author

Nancy Radke – Best-selling author










typewriterIt’s Wednesday, and it must be time for another edition of Author Wednesday. Today we’ll take a step back to the 14th century with author Glen Craney as Kind Edward I attempts to steal Scotland. The Spider and the Stone: A Novel of Scotland’s Black Douglas chronicles the story of James Douglas as he attempts to thwart the king and keep Scotland safe from the intruders. The historical novel has been described as “A thrilling historical epic of star-crossed love and heroic sacrifice set during the Scottish Wars of Independence.” The book has received several awards, including first place Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. It is a great honor to have Glen join me today to talk about The Spider and the Stone.SpiderEpubCover02

Hello, Glen! Welcome to Author Wednesday. Let’s start with your life as a writer. I’m always curious about the moment when writers first discover they have a ‘voice.’ When did you first discover your voice as a writer?

I came to fiction later than most novelists, following stints as a trial lawyer and a political reporter. Several years ago, I had a flirtation with the movie business after winning the Nicholl Fellowship, an award given by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences for best new film writing. Readers often tell me my novels have a cinematic quality. Perhaps that’s because I learned the craft of screenwriting first. I soon discovered it’s difficult to get any movie produced, but particularly an intelligent, sophisticated one that stays true to historical events. The original writer’s vision usually gets lost in the shuffle of multiple writers and studio demands for taking dramatic license. So, I decided to write my historical stories as books.

You’ve had a rich career. I love it when what we’ve done before coalesces into the creation of something more. Sounds as if that’s just what happened for you. Rachel Carson (Silent Spring author) said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Has this ever happened to you?

The inspiration for my first three novels came in dreams. In the dream that led me to The Spider and the Stone, I was a mounted knight caught in a death struggle along a stream with a black-robed hag who attacked me with a sickle. The scene then shifted to a celebratory photograph of seven knights standing around a seated monarch. Below this tableau, a caption appeared: “Americans Aid the King at Bannockburn.”

I awoke and wrote the dream down, even though none of it made any sense. If I had heard of the Battle of Bannockburn, its significance had long since been lost to my school days. The caption and photograph were even more bizarre. Robert the Bruce won his unlikely victory against the English in 1314, nearly five hundred years before the United States was even an idea.

Two months later, I was in Scotland walking along the burn of Bannock with Stirling Castle looming in the distance. That stream looked similar to the one that had appeared in my dream. Eventually, I also came to understand the meaning of the caption suggesting that Americans aided King Robert at the battle.

That’s an incredible story. Of course, you had to write this novel. I’ve had dreams where names and scenes came to me, but nothing quite as graphic as yours. What a lovely gift given to you from somewhere! So you have the dream and some of the things start appearing in reality. That’s still a long way from writing a full-fledged epic novel. How did you make the story leap from your imagination onto the page? 

After that first trip, I traveled to Scotland twice more to visit the sites I would write about in the novel. I had assumed Robert the Bruce would be my main character. But as I drove from castles to battlefields, I began to learn more about James Douglas, the Bruce’s best friend and war lieutenant, and Isabelle MacDuff, the woman who defied her clan to crown the Bruce. These two Scot patriots took hold of my story. On my flight back to Los Angeles, I began outlining the novel. Twelve hours later, I walked off the plane with every chapter and scene planned out.

I’m impressed. The subject not only chose you, it grabbed you and held you hostage until you told the story! I see that you write mostly historical fiction. Are there certain messages or themes you try to put in every novel?

Before I tackle a subject, I apply a three-pronged test: 1) Is it a great story? 2) Will it reveal or develop some new aspect about the period or person? and 3) Will it deal with issues relevant today? If I can satisfy two of the three conditions, I know I have a novel worth writing. If I get lucky and find all three present, I’m hopeful for one of those rare books that will stand the test of time.

In my opinion, there is no higher calling for a historical novelist than to rattle the cages of the powerful and expose history’s encrusted myths and hagiographies. I prefer to accuse the victors and comfort its losers. And I never let myself forget Shakespeare’s admonition: “It is an heretic that makes the fire, not she which burns in’t.”

That’s so true no matter the genre of fiction. Speaking of genres, will you continue writing historical fiction?

Historical fiction will always be my favorite, but I’ve also written mystery-thrillers with historical themes. My most recent, The Virgin of the Wind Rose, is a dual-period thriller in which two global conspiracies, half a millennium apart, dovetail to expose the true identity of Christopher Columbus.

That sounds very interesting, Glen. Let’s talk about reviews now. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

A Vietnam War veteran posted an Amazon review for The Spider and the Stone. Paraphrasing doesn’t do his words justice, so I’ll quote from his review:

“Now you must understand, moving me to tears is difficult because I am a battle hardened veteran who led the platoon credited with killing the most enemy in the 25th Division in March of 1969. No brag – just fact… but it left me somewhat emotionless. This scene touched my Scottish-American warrior’s heart.

“Glen Craney writes some of the most lucid, plausible accounts of battles whose histories and the ground often do not make sense. His accounts not only make sense but are some of the most exciting reading I have ever done. He seems to understand the relationship between battle buddies more than most authors. He beautifully presents The Bruce and The Douglas as battle buddies from their first youthful fistfight to Bannockburn. I believe him. Thank you, Glen!”


A review like that makes all the years of toil worth the effort.

It’s a fantastic review, and I’m sure it inspired you to continue on this path. Do you listen to music when you write?

While writing Spider, I listened to Loreena McKennitt, the talented Canadian musical artist who plays upon Celtic themes. I soon began to hear a movie score in my head. Each important scene fit perfectly with one of her songs: The Mummer’s Dance for the start of the Battle of Bannockburn; The Prologue for the rescue attempt at Roxburgh; the threading of Raglan Road across several incidents. I even envisioned her as the perfect choice to play Morgainne, the raven goddess who appears throughout the novel. I sent Ms. McKennitt a copy of the book with a note of thanks for the inspiration and received a nice response.

I can see this in movie form now with Loreena McKennitt providing the soundtrack. I’ll have to check her out while I’m reading The Spider and the Stone.

GlenAbout Glen: Glen Craney is a novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He holds graduate degrees from Indiana University-Indianapolis School of Law and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. After practicing trial law, he joined the Washington, D.C. press corps to cover national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression.


The Spider and the Stone Amazon

Author website 
Twitter: @glencraney
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Author Page 


typewriterAuthor Wednesday presents two authors today. Melissa Mayberry has visited her before to talk about her series, Mellifica. Now she’s collaborated with Travis Casey on the newly released Enemy of My Enemyfilled with suspense, action, and lots intrigue. EOME Front CoverMelissa drops by for an interview today, but first I’ll let her explain how this collaboration came about. As an author myself, I find it fascinating and inspiring that two authors can write together to create a novel. 

Welcome, Melissa! Let’s start by talking about the birth of this project with Travis Casey.

A few years ago, Travis Casey critiqued work for my first series, Mellifica. He seemed to enjoy the story, but I remained a bit skeptical of his praise. After all, that story is a young adult romance. When I returned the favor and critiqued Travis’ book, Trouble Triangle, I fell in love with a rowdy, smart-mouthed sailor named Tyler Chambers. Immediately, I noticed the quality in Travis’ work, but the complexity and depth in his characters captivated me and each week I was anxious for more.

Soon, Mellifica became a series, as did Trouble Triangle. Anyone who has finished a novel can attest to the euphoric rush. We finished our first novels around the same time and became addicted to writing and each other’s stories. At the time, my daughter started writing fan fiction with her friends. They would write one paragraph and the other person would write the next. I liked that idea, but on a less complicated scale. Every writer I know has their “writing bestie” and it wasn’t difficult to know who to pitch this idea to.

Travis accepted the idea as a challenge, and I dug through my list of ideas and proposed the idea for Enemy of My Enemy. Neither of us had written action, but both of us could write a rich character. We created characters for each other, and Travis assigned me to the sass-mouthed Gemma Gage. She was a materialistic woman who ignored a very complex and organized crime spree, simply to reap the rewards. My biggest challenge was that I actually hated the idea of her and her shallow ways. Bringing life, depth, and personal growth to this character took a lot of work. Eventually, I learned to love Gemma Gage and allowed her to survive to the end of the book.

Thaddeus Kline was the project I gave to Travis. After writing such a naughty character in his first series, I threw him a curveball with Thad. Sure, Thad has an agenda to kill, but deep down he was a good guy pressured into a dreadful situation. Thad isn’t a born killer, but he is a quick study when he needs to avenge his woman.

Co-writing this book was a lot like reading a new book. I had a basic idea of who this character was, but no idea how Thad would handle Gemma. Most of the time, I had no idea what Gemma’s responses would be.

Fortunately, sparks between Thad and Gemma flew faster than bullets from an ugly gun.


So you began by creating characters for each of you to use in the story. That’s a very intriguing way to start, and it focused on both of your strengths. You said you’ve been writing for a few years now, but when did you first discover your voice as a writer?

In high school, I was a writer for the school paper. Seems silly now, years later, but my creative work was always picked by the editor. Of course, that piqued the artist in me, and I wrote a lot of short stories. Life got in the way, so I stopped writing for a while, and my first novel came to me, and I had no choice but to write again.

And thus began your life as an author. Do you have any writing rituals?

The one that most people find surprising is closing my eyes. Reading my books, you get a lot of personal information, whether you know it or not. When I’m dishing out the embarrassing stuff, I type with my eyes closed.

That’s good. Anything to get it down on the page! Do you have a vision of yourself as a writer?

I often think of writing as an outlet—a stress relief. Not only does work and family stress me, but a story rattling around in my head put a certain pressure on me, and I can’t stop until I’ve let it out. Sometimes, it’s a problem when I have a lot of stories on my mind and no time to write.

Yes, I get grouchy when I can’t write my stories. When things are stressful, I’m often asked, “How can you write during this time?” How can I not write during stressful times? It takes my mind off the reality of my days. You both switched genres with Enemy of My Enemy, to a genre unfamiliar to you and Casey. Why did you decide to try for a thriller? 

When Travis agreed to write with me, we wanted to do something fun. Something with a back and forth banter, but could eventually bring the characters together. Two people that were leery of each other, but with a common goal that fit nicely into an action novel.

Interesting process. I’m a little envious of this collaboration! Do you have a favorite character from this novel?

Well, I created Thad, and Travis created Gemma, but then I had to write Gemma, and he had to write Thad. So, yeah, I do love Thad. I’m all about a gentle bad-boy.

That’s a very attractive proposition for sure. I really love how you came up with the concept. Now, what about the title. How did you choose it?

I have a file of book names that I think of and then build a plot around the title. I don’t remember how this particular name came to me, but Travis liked it, and we made a plot together.

How long do you estimate it took you to take this book from your decision to do this project together to a finished, published novel?

It’s been in the works for a few years. Travis and I had other projects that we worked on and then came back to this one.

Is the book traditionally or self-published? 

We went with self-publishing. Although my publisher is great with the other books, we wanted something we had full control and say over.

That’s what I love about being an Indie Author, too. What is the best thing someone could say about this book?

Oh, I love hearing that it’s fun to read. Writing Enemy of my Enemy was entertaining, and we want our readers to have a good time reading it.

Let’s talk about how it actually worked with the collaboration. The idea came from you, but what about the execution of it? 

Travis and I had very different opinions about this. We have similar writing styles, but very different imaginations. But when it comes down to it, we both write off the cuff, so even our own conceptions changed when the story progressed.

Who is the antagonist in this book?

Bruce Gage. I’m laughing thinking of him because I remember how much Travis hated him from the beginning. Bruce was just a character that you love to hate.

Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in Enemy of My Enemy.

I love Gemma’s opening scene. Gemma was being held captive in an unconventional way but Thad inadvertently took care of the problem was pretty cute during that scene.

Thank you for stopping by today, Melissa. I enjoyed learning about how this book came to be. You and Travis are very fortunate to have found in one another kindred writing souls.


About Melissa Mayberry: In a series of ironic events, Mellifica presented to Melissa Mayberry in such a way that she had to dust off her writing skills and put the story to paper. The story soon became her passion and rekindled her love of writing. Living in the Blue Ridge of Virginia, Melissa works full time as a nurse, student, and mother. Her past will haunt her until the story is told.

610py-pa9bl-_ux250_About Travis Casey: Travis was brought up in Midwest America before embarking on a nine-year Navy career that allowed him to travel the world and learn about life. He has ping-ponged across oceans moving from mainland United States to Hawaii, to Scotland, to Seattle, to England, to Minnesota, to…

His writing is light-hearted fiction writing comedic novels with humor being the focal point binding his stories together. He has written Tyler’s Trouble Trilogy, which comprises three stand-alone novels. The first in the series is Trouble Triangle, a romantic comedy. Followed by the sequel, Oceans of Trouble, where the adventure continues to the Far East in this suspense novel. His third novel, Forbidden Trouble, follows the natural progression into a romance but retains the humor and suspense that readers enjoy in Casey’s writing.

An international move from England to Minnesota inspired the satirical memoir, Foreigner In My Own Backyard. Following that, Travis released the sequel, Foreigner On My Own Front Porch. This real life series takes a humorous look at the American lifestyle as he repatriates himself to the United States after living in England for the past twenty years.


Facebook Fan Page 

Enemy of My People – Amazon


typewriterWelcome to Author Wednesday. Jennifer Kibble sits down for an interview today to talk about her new fantasy adventure for young adults, Mages of Vane. It’s the second book in her Phoenix Element series.  Here’s her enticing invitation to the book:  Anya is attending the Vane Magic School, not by choice, but she soon fits right in. The mages did free her of a powerful entity after all. Or did they?Phoenix2_6x9

Hello, Jennifer and welcome to Author Wednesday. Your new book sounds exciting, but let’s start by talking about you and your writing rituals. Do you have anything special you do when you write?

Music is key for me. For my current project, I am handwriting the entire draft before typing it out. Not only do I need music playing in my ears, but the right blue pen to jot it all down.


That’s unique. I sometimes write on a legal pad with a sharpened pencil to get my juices flowing. Now that you’ve published Mages of Vane, what are you working on?

Reality Break will be the third book in the Phoenix Element series. It starts a few weeks after the events in Mages of Vane. Characters will be broken in this book. Not sure if they can be put back together or not yet. The eBook cover for Reality Break is already finished, and you can click here to see it.

What’s your one sentence pitch for Mages of Vane?

The magical world is about to be shaken up.

How did you choose the title?

I wanted to keep it simple. Mages of Vane takes place at a magic school called Vane, where mages reside. Straight to the point. I stuck with this title from the get-go.

Simple and concise–always best! How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?

About two and a half years. The idea itself has been in my head longer than that.

I’m glad you finally got it out. Is the book traditionally or self-published?

I went with self-publishing for the second book in the Phoenix Element series. I learned a lot from my last publication. Some of which I did want to repeat and other aspects that I did not. I feel that self-publishing I have more control over my work.

Since you’re writing for young adults, what message did you want to convey with  Mages of Vane?

You can run but eventually, your problems will have to be faced head on.

Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

The monologue that describes who and what Kasiff is. I had written that piece years before I started to write the Phoenix Element series. I’m glad that I was finally able to use it.

What else do you want readers to know about your book?

Even though Mages of Vane is part of a series, it can still be read as a standalone. While at Vane, Anya will learn more about her magic as well as just how far some people will go for power. There is an epic battle scene between mages and sacrifices made. But maybe you shouldn’t listen to me, but to the one who lived it.

Anya: I still don’t understand why it was so important for Raine to find out why my clothes don’t burn when I use my fire magic. Of everything magical, that was one of the last things that I thought about.

Jen: Excuse me, can you get back to the question?

Anya: Oh yeah, right …so Vane. Great school but it can be creepy. Most of the mages are nice and then you have those who are so cryptic, that you need a translator. And there was a lot of monotony. I mean how many times did I have to go over aura techniques? I swear, my teacher was just being cruel. But I don’t want to get started on him. You’ll know who he is once you meet him. At least I got to meet a few interesting people while at Vane. A butterfly that could talk, a walking cousin of a tree…oh and don’t worry, those you’ve met in the past show up as well. Not everyone, but a few. It was a blast up until everything went downhill.

Thank you for stopping by today, Jennifer! Warm wishes for the successful completion of the next book in the series. I hope you’ll come back when it’s published.

9421_1243985577174_1155394466_30750194_4433111_nAbout Jennifer Kibble:  Jennifer is a geek at heart. She has used this love for video games, reading, the fantasy and science fiction world, and used it to help fuel her passion for writing. Her career as a writer turned serious after a trip to witness the final launch of the space shuttle Discovery. This set into motion the mind set to do what she loves. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys playing video games, reading, playing D&D, and listening to music.

Phoenix Element came across in an interesting way. Jennifer would have the same type of dreams and characters since she was a young girl. One day she decided to use those characters in a story. Of course with most characters, they take over the story and lead the writer instead of the writer telling the characters what to do.

Parts of Phoenix Element started out as a series of short stories known as “The Eternal Nine Key Barriers (E9KB)” back in middle school. This branched off as a role-playing story on a message board. Later on, Phoenix Element started to grow into its own and became what it is today.

Normality Twisted is the first book in the Phoenix Element series. As all series go, you have to start somewhere. This is the start of JB’s adventure as she learns that she has magical powers and is the reincarnation of a princess from another planet, Anya. JB tries to separate real life from her magical one, so she takes the name of Anya. She soon discovers that an entity from her past life still clings on and wants to take control of Anya’s body.

Mages of Vane starts off in the school for mages. The entity known as Ashima is no longer screaming within Anya’s mind. Anya now begins her new life learning about magic, auras, and making new friends. Unbeknownst to Anya, she stands at the cusp of a war that has been brewing for centuries.

The mages of Vane must protect their home and school from The Order of Blood and their hidden leader. If Vane falls, other worlds will follow suit.

Links to purchase Jennifer’s books and connections on social media (click below)

Mages of Vane – Amazon

Normality Twisted – Amazon

Amazon Author Page


Facebook Fan Page



cropped-cropped-typewriter.jpgAuthor Wednesday time once again. Today I welcome one of my eNovel Authors at Work members. She’s EM Kaplan, the author of the humorous Josie Tucker mystery series. But today she’s here to talk about her epic fantasy series, Rise of the Masks. The  first book in the series, Unmaskedwill be free on Amazon February 25-29. Check her out!Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 2.58.55 PM

Hello, Emily, and welcome to Author Wednesday. Since this is your first tour of duty on my blog, let’s start with some general tidbits about your writing life. Do you have any writing rituals?

I’d love to have a quiet space—one of those trendy “she-sheds” (which is a terrible name, but marginally better than girl-cave). They are detached spaces, perfectly decorated, separate from your house and usually in a lush garden. Yeah, that’s a nice dream. Usually, I am sitting at the dining table surrounded by kids’ homework, junk mail, and leftover randomalia (I just made up that word). The dog (a.k.a. my officemate) sprawls at my feet, groaning with boredom. The TV blares Japanese cartoons from the other room while I wrestle with twisty plots and unruly characters. I should get some noise-blocking headphones, but sometimes I do need to referee arguments or snack-block my hungry teenagers when it’s too close to dinner.

I sent my husband the link for the she-sheds, but so far he hasn’t kept up his end. They are amazing, but you’re the amazing one if you can write amid the chaos. Hats off to you. Now that you’ve told us about your reality, what’s the vision you hold in your head as you the writer? 

Picture this:  I’m at the premiere of my third book to be made into a movie. I haven’t written the screenplay for it, but that’s all right—I trust Diablo Cody completely. She did a fabulous job with Juno. I step onto the red carpet, and Entertainment Weekly asks me what designer I’m wearing. I say, “My sweatpants are by Target. And my slippers are bunny.”

All right then. You’ll make a splash. Can’t wait to read the reviews of what you wore to that one! Now back to your actual writing. Do you have a favorite character that you created? 

Aside from Josie Tucker, who is probably my favorite fiction-child, I love both Mel and Ott, from Unmasked and Unbroken, equally. Mel is logical, over-sensitive, and almost magical in her ability to sense things around her. Ott, on the other hand, is one hundred percent rogue. He puts the swash in swashbuckling.

You’ve written books in two distinctly different genres. What are you going to do next? Are you planning to continue writing in the same genres?

That is a very good question. Rise of the Masks is set to be a trilogy, but whether there are more books about Mel and Ott after that, is up to readers. My mystery fans are more vocal about their affection for Josie Tucker. My fantasy fans are devoted but more introverted in their support. In other words, any readers out there who want more Mel and Ott, please let me know—in the form of a review, for example. (That probably sounded snarky, but I’m being honest.)

Speaking of reviews, let’s talk about the inevitable for a minute. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

One of my best fans of Unmasked said that in some ways, the writing reminded her of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which is an amazing YA fantasy book by Laini Taylor. That compliment was thrilling to hear.

Give us the one sentence pitch for Unmasked.

When monsters invade a castle of young women, young Mel, a mystic girl disguised among them, discovers she may hold the secret to their survival.

How long do you estimate it took you to take Unmasked from an idea to a finished, published?

You’re going to laugh. Unmasked took me thirty-two years. How is that possible? I wrote down the seeds of the story when I was ten. I have a notebook full of hand-drawn maps and an outline of the basic plot in my ten-year-old handwriting. Then one year, I was looking for an idea for NaNoWriMo, and I found my notebook in a storage box. I didn’t finish writing Unmasked that month, but I did finish it. Is it the same story I first thought up when I was ten? No. Like me, it grew up.

That’s amazing. I can’t imagine anything I wrote at that age could be made into a novel. I recently read my diary from sixth grade. Embarrassing — I had so little to say about life and the world. Do you listen to music while you write?

For Unmasked, I listened to a lot of the band, Muse. If music had genre categories like books, Muse would fall into Fantasy/Scifi, without a doubt. For the sequel, Unbroken, I listened to the soundtrack from Game of Thrones.

How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

My husband is author JD Kaplan, who writes contemporary or urban fantasy. His mother, Esther Kaplan, is our professional editor. You might say, book production is a family business here. Although writing is completely separate and individual, we share marketing tips and experiences.

I love it. It will be interesting to see what your kids do. I can’t imagine that you have any with your busy life, but what do you do during your down time?

I recently became a certified dance fitness instructor, which is really weird for an introvert like me. Click here to read my  blog post about it. I’m certified to teach CIZE Live, which is the new program from Shaun T and also MixxedFit, which is explosive dancing mixed with bootcamp-inspired toning. Imagine hip-hop moves and music with a nice, heavy beat.

I want to take your class. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you a bit better. You’re one cool woman and author!

Aem_neck_sigbout EM:  I’m EM Kaplan—but you can call me Emily. I’m a technical-writing, hip-hop-dancing, dog-belly-rubbing mom of teenagers. I write a series of humorous mysteries that features an amateur detective and food critic named Josie Tucker. I also write a lesser known epic fantasy series called Rise of the Masks, the first of which is Unmasked, which happens to be free on Kindle February 25-29.

Links to books and social media sites

Grab your free copy of Unmasked Feb. 25-29

Website and blog – Just The Em Words








cropped-typewriter.jpgIt’s already hump day, and that means another installment of Author Wednesday. I’m very excited today to welcome S.R. Mallery. I know her as Sarah, and I’m proud to say that not only have I had the privilege of working with her as an editor, but she has also become a dear friend in this sometimes isolated profession as an author and editor. She’s a gem, and she’s just published her first “Wild West” historical romance, The Dolan Girls.DOLAN_GIRLS_large


From S.R. Mallery on writing The Dolan Girls

When an author keeps on writing one particular genre, people naturally assume his or her choice of reading material is undoubtedly in that same genre. I pen mostly historical fiction; ergo, my TBR pile must be filled with books of that same ilk.

No, not necessarily. Although I do read practically every fictional genre, I tend to gravitate toward mysteries, thrillers, and in some cases, romances. So why, you might ask, do I write historical fiction? Research. I love reading nonfiction books/articles about history and watching a myriad of documentaries and TV series about different time periods. And so, by writing historical fiction, I get to really learn about whatever era I’ve decided in which to place my story and characters.

I am also fascinated by older customs, cultures, and language. Just looking at photographs or pictures, watching films, or listening to the music of different epochs, instantly stimulates plots and motives in my brain, steering me on toward creating a complete story. Additionally, what I have ultimately discovered through this process is no matter the generation, no matter the geography, people and their emotions have never really changed.

Then, Forrest Gump-like, I like to insert my fictional characters into settings of real historical events, or alongside real historical figures, helping the reader envision what it must have been like to live way back when.

After publishing my first three books (Unexpected Gifts, Sewing Can Be Dangerous, and Tales To Count On), someone suggested I try my hand at writing a historical fiction Wild West romance. I had already tackled a couple of love scenes in my other books, and suddenly, I remembered how many westerns I had watched growing up. And how many crushes I had on the male actors who aided and abetted the blossoming of my prepubescent hormones!

So I started my ‘field-work.’ I quickly learned how the existence of madams and their whorehouses was as important as schoolmarms and their teachings; how the Wild West outlaw was often a direct result of the southern anger at losing the Civil War; how “the way out West” justified the poor man’s escape from a congested, restricted life to an open-aired one, and how Buffalo Bill was a true showman, treasuring the famous Annie Oakley. And rightfully so. Reading about her shooting accuracy, coupled with her pretty face and petite frame, captivated me.

I also discovered the sparseness of the new western towns cropping up was in direct contrast to the rich, colorful language used.

Here’s a TINY fraction of terms and phrases from the book, Cowboy Lingo, by Ramon F. Adams:


“pill-rollers” or “saw-bones” = doctors      “wisdom bringers” = teachers      “Prairie wool” = grass


“they came skally-hootin’ into town”

“have about as much chance winnin’ as a grasshopper that hops on an anthill”

“had him settin’ on a damp cloud learnin’ to play a harp”

“handsome as an ace-full on Kings”

“put windows in his skull”

“big enough to hunt bears with a switch”

“he don’t know dung from wild honey”

“as prominent as a new saloon in a church district”

“showed up like a tin roof in a fog”

“as wise as a tree-full of owls”

“as useless as a twenty-two cartridge in an eight-gauge shotgun”

Now, after all this, how could I resist writing a Wild West romance? In the end, I had a total blast doing researching for The Dolan Girls and its sequel, which will take place during the late 1800s, set right smack in the middle of the infamous Johnson County Cattle War in Wyoming.

Yippee Ki-yay!!

Thanks, Sarah. And everyone else, watch for my thoughts on The Dolan Girls on Book Review Friday.

S.R.Malleryheadshot_04forblogs (1)About S.R. Mallery:  Let’s face it. S. R. Mallery is as eclectic as her characters. Starting out as a classical/pop singer/composer, she next explored the fast-paced world of advertising as a production artist while she simultaneously dipped her toe into the Zen biosphere as a calligrapher. Having started a family and wanting to work from the home, she moved on to having a long career as an award-winning quilt artist and an ESL/Reading instructor before settling on her true love––writing. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt. Her quilt articles have appeared in Quilt World and Traditional Quilt Works.

Links to S.R. Mallery’s Books

The Dolan Girls

Unexpected Gifts  

Sewing Can Be Dangerous  

Tales To Count On 

More on S.R. Mallery




Facebook Fan Page



Pinterest  (I have some good history boards that are getting a lot of attention—history, vintage clothing, older films)

Amazon Author Central





It’s Author Wednesday again. Today I welcome back Cate Beauman, who is introducing her latest addition to the Bodyguards of L.A. County. Finding Lyla – book ten – brings back Ethan Cooke Security’s bodyguard team to solve yet another thrilling crime. Cate tells me that each book in the series stands on its own, so no worries that you have to read the first nine to understand Finding Lyla03 Finding Lyla - Ebook Small

“Although reading the books in order is preferred, it is not necessary,” Cate said.  “Each title features brand new primary characters and limited overlapping secondary characters.  Don’t hesitate to jump right in!”

The Inspiration Behind Finding Lyla from Cate Beauman:

Typically, I get my story ideas from crime documentaries or some sort of crime television program, but I can’t say that is the case for Finding Lyla. When I was coming up with ideas for this novel, I knew I wanted to tell a story about a hero that had struggled through some rough times and a heroine that had some unresolved issues of her own, but was soft, strong, and gentle all at the same time. During the summer months, I started paying close attention to the ongoing Russia/U.S. conflict, and Lyla and Collin assured me they wanted their story to revolve around an adventure that combined all of these elements together.

Blurb from Finding Lyla  

Principal Dancer Lyla Markovik-Avery is always on the go. Grueling practices and endless performances rule her busy days—and things are about to get more hectic. Russia is rolling out the red carpet for their beloved star, despite the string of violent terrorist attacks that have rocked the nation.

Bodyguard Collin Michaels’ life is falling apart. His long-time relationship recently ended. He’s trying to start over, but that’s easier said than done. Luckily, Collin has a new assignment on the horizon: keeping a beautiful ballerina safe for the next three weeks.

Collin finds comfort in Lyla’s easy friendship, but that all changes after a night out on the town. Simple feelings become complicated—something Collin can’t afford, especially when tragedy strikes and Collin realizes Lyla’s caught in the middle of a dangerous plot for revenge.

Collin and Lyla are forced to flee. They need to reach the border before it’s too late, but the odds are stacked against them in a country that wants them dead. With time running out, Collin formulates a risky plan that might be their only chance of making it out alive.

Excerpt from Finding Lyla

She crossed her legs, the picture of calm, even as her temples began to pound with the sudden headache. “I’ve turned my back on nothing. Dance is personal. My reasons are personal, but I can assure you nothing would make me happier than to see peace restored between the two countries I call home.”

“And you will help with this?”

She frowned. “Help restore peace? Roman, you overestimate my influence.”

“Perhaps you underestimate your power. Are you not Mina Markovik’s daughter? Have you not followed in her footsteps?”

God knows she’d tried. “I will never be my mother.”

“But you are ‘Russia’s Princess.’”

But she wasn’t. The weight on her shoulders grew exponentially—as it did every year when the title she’d never asked for was thrown in her face.

“This comes with great responsibility,” Roman continued, staring at her, clearly waiting for her response.

She consciously relaxed her hands when she realized her knuckles were white. As their gazes held, she swallowed. How was she supposed to tell him she had canceled her plans to travel east? By honoring her father’s requests to stay in New York, she disgraced the woman who’d died giving her life. With an inner sigh, she sat up straighter, remembering that she owed the beautiful woman who perished nearly twenty-five years ago. “I understand my responsibilities. I accept my duties.”

“Russia has heard nothing from you since the tragic bombing in Saint Petersburg almost two weeks ago.”

Another request from her father: to distance herself from the politics of extremists and deadly acts against the Russian Federation. “Of course I’m deeply saddened and disturbed by such a horrible tragedy.”

“Your father wasn’t shy about his condemnation of the attack. He’s quoted as calling them guerrilla tactics that cannot be tolerated by the United States any more than they are the Russian Federation.”

“Yes. My father is very troubled by the violence.”

“Rumor has it your father is discouraging your travels to the Mother Land for fear of your safety.”

Her spine snapped straight at such a clear invasion of her privacy. How could anyone know that? She discussed her personal issues with very few people. “The rumors you hear are wrong.”

“Ambassador Avery hasn’t pressured you into staying home safe and sound in New York?”

“No, he has not.”

“So you won’t be postponing your trip to Russia?”

“No, I will not. I’ll be coming for my three-week holiday as I always do, and I’ll be performing The Markovik Number at the Bolshoi Theater.”

Roman gaped. “You’ll dance The Markovik Number?”


He edged closer in his seat. “It’s never been seen before. The choreography is unknown to all but a few.”

“Yes,” she repeated.

“This dance is a pas de deux?”

She nodded while her mind raced as she dug herself deeper into her current mess. Not only was she now going to Russia, she was also committing herself to imitating the steps of a true legend. Many had compared her to Mina through the years, but that was nostalgia. No one would ever hold a candle to Mina Markovik on stage.

“Who will you partner with?”

“Sergei Ploeski,” she decided. As soon as word spread, there was no doubt Russia’s best male ballet dancer would be committed to learning the choreography.

Roman’s eyes grew wider. “You will dance with Sergei Ploeski?”

“Mmm. A token of goodwill between two beautiful countries.”

Roman all but rubbed his hands together. “The headlines will be wild. “Ploeski and Markovik-Avery: History.”

“It will be an honor.”

“Your father knows of this?”

“He encouraged me to reach out to Sergei, to bring my mother’s last dance to life during such uncertain times,” she lied without qualm, knowing such a statement would put her father in a positive light.

“This is fantastic, Lyla.”

“I’m excited,” she fibbed again as she struggled not to fidget.

“And your visit at Orphan House Ten, will you still meet with the children?”

“I plan to carry on with my usual schedule.” Which would drive Dad crazy.

“With added security and precautions no doubt.”

She shook her head. “No. You know I don’t use security.”

“Surely your father will insist.”

“My father and I both believe that we must be cautious with the new threats, but we must also live our lives. I plan to carry on in Russia as I always have—drive my own car, walk the streets without being flanked by any sort of protective personnel, eat out with friends and family.”

“You can’t exactly call yourself a normal citizen.”

“Why not?”

“Normal citizens aren’t from the womb of great dancers. Few can call themselves the daughter of an American ambassador.”

“I am both of these things, and I’ve never wanted to be treated any differently than anyone else.”

“There is certainly truth in that, Princess.” Roman shut off his recorder and stood abruptly. “Thank you for sitting down with me.” He bent forward, absently pressing a kiss to Lyla’s cheek. “We’ll catch up when you land in Russia next week. I want an exclusive.”

“Of course,” she muttered, waiting for him to disappear around the corner before she let her head settle against the back of the seat. Closing her eyes, she groaned as she rubbed at the throbbing in her temples. What had she done? Dad was going to lose it when she explained what had just happened. She stood and started back toward her dressing room, not looking forward to the call she was about to make. But there was no turning back now. Every word she’d spoken was on Roman’s handy little tape recorder.

The Unofficial Finding Lyla Soundtrack

Music plays a HUGE part in my writing process. I typically listen to Pandora or YouTube while I create my stories and compile a collection of songs that I feel represent my characters or the situations they face as each novel unfolds. It’s a rare occasion that my creativity demands silence (And that’s a good thing. I’m a mother of two boys. Quiet doesn’t exist in my house.). I thought it would be fun to create a list of songs that ‘spoke’ to me while I wrote the Bodyguards of L.A. County series. You can listen to the “soundtrack” for each book on my website

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Finding Lyla:

  • “Today” by Steve Moakler
  • “Beautiful Things” by Gungor
  • “Teneferie Sea” by Ed Sheeran
  • “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk The Moon
  • “Anywhere but Here” by Safety Suit
  • “Never Gonna Be Alone” by Nickelback
  • “Nirvana” by Sam Smith
  • “Don’t Deserve You” by Plumb
  • “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry
  • “You’re in Love” by Taylor Swift
  • “Fight Song” by Rachel Platton

05 Cate Profile PicAbout Cate:  International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, Justice for Abby was selected as the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while Saving Sophie took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards.

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on Deceiving Bella, the eleventh novel in her popular Bodyguards series. For information on Cate’s new releases, monthly giveaways, and upcoming events, click here to sign up for her newsletter.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Kobo | Nook | iBooks

Contact Cate:




Amazon Author Central

You can follow Cate on Twitter @CateBeauman

















cropped-cropped-typewriter.jpgWelcome to Author Wednesday. Today I’m featuring Kerry Donovan, an author who appeared here last fall, but since then he’s published a new book, On Lucky Shores. Full disclosure: I edited this thriller set in the Rocky Mountains and invited Kerry back to talk about it because I so enjoyed reading this novel – even with my red pen poised above the page. Kerry is also a very funny guy, so sit back with a cup of coffee and prepare to be entertained.On-Lucky-Shores-Front-Only-Large (2)


So let’s start right off with it, Kerry. Tell us a bit about your new work, On Lucky Shores.

On Lucky Shores is an adventure novel set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The hero, Chester ‘Chet’ Walker is hitchhiking around America in search of inspiration to write his next song when he witnesses an accident. He tries to help the injured driver who gives him a cryptic message and begs Chet to take it to his estranged daughter, Josephine Dolan. Reluctantly, Chet agrees and heads for the isolated resort town of Lucky Shores. He doesn’t know it, but the message he carries just might get him and Josephine killed.

For the book, I’ve developed a cast of characters to populate the pages: a hard-nosed sheriff, a plethora of suspicious and angry townsfolk, a female mayor (Josephine’s aunt), and a helpful doctor. One or more of them is a thief, and maybe even a killer.

The novel is a modern-day western with action, adventure, a mystery, and a romance at its core. There’s plenty of room for a sequel (which I’ve already started writing). If the readers like the story, I’ll carry on writing it. If they don’t, I’ll still carry on writing it. Tee hee.

This isn’t your first novel, but the first in this series starring Chet Walker. Do you see a common thread emerge in all your works?

I guess you’d call my body of work character-based thrillers. At least, I hope they contain good, well-rounded characters and plenty of thrills.  If they don’t, I’m a charlatan.

You could be a bit of both. Just teasing, of course (maybe). I think perhaps all of us authors might have a touch of the snake-oil salesman running through our veins. Let’s get serious for a minute. I love what Rachel Carson (Silent Spring author) said in an interview near the end of her life. She said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Describe a time when a subject chose you.

When it comes to a new book, I never really plan anything. I usually have a basic idea for a story and then dive in. For On Lucky Shores, I was video chatting with my son, a musician who was thinking about backpacking around Australia. He wondered whether it would be possible to pay his way by playing gigs in small towns as a sort of modern day minstrel, singing for his supper. It got me to wondering whether I could write a book where my hero was doing the same thing. My creative juices started flowing and I sat at my desk and started writing. Six months later, On Lucky Shores was ready for publication.

That’s a bit of how I work, too. Sometimes just a line will come to me complete with a character name. It usually turns out nicely when we follow our muse. Is there a form of written expression you’d like to try?

I’d love to write in poetry but don’t understand it. Chet wrote some lyrics for On Lucky Shores, but I’m not sure that counts.

Sure it counts! I used to think I might be a poet. I wrote a few for a character in one of my novels, but I never feel comfortable with the form. I know the setting in your current work uses setting as a plot device. What role does setting play in your novels?

In On Lucky Shores, the Rocky Mountains are so integral to the story they almost form a character in their own right. They cut off the town from the rest of the state, they look down imperiously on the action, and both hinder and help Chet and Josephine in their pursuit of the truth. Without the Rockies, there would be no story.

That’s true. They serve as both sides of the protagonist/antagonist coin. I know you said you’re currently a work on the next in this series, but are you planning to continue writing in the same genre?

Who knows? I write whatever takes my fancy. I even have an idea for a children’s fantasy novel set on a planet where a natural disaster forced the population to live underground eons ago. It started as a bedtime story I told my sons way back in 1983. One day, I’ll write it for my grandchildren. Maybe.

That sounds like a wonderful idea. I hope you do it. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

“Kerry J Donovan is the greatest writer living today.” Yep, no doubt about it, my wife is a saint, although some might say she was being a little sarcastic.

I’m sure she believes it, but I’m wondering what was happening at the moment she said it. So we all get them, and some writers are bothered by them. What advice can you give to other writers about receiving a bad review?

A bad review? Ignore it. You can’t please all the readers all the time.

I agree. Also, most bad reviews–mine and those of other authors–don’t give a legitimate reason for disliking a book, so discerning readers will figure that out. One of the sets I’m in with other authors received a one-star review with the comment. “I haven’t read the set yet.” What’s your one sentence pitch for On Lucky Shores?

Traveling musician, Chet Walker, learns the truth behind the saying, “no good deed goes unpunished.”

How did you choose the title?

The title is ironic. Lucky Shores is probably the unluckiest town in Colorado, and Chet Walker is only visiting. Originally, it was going to be called simply, Lucky Shores, but I added the “On” to show the temporary nature of Chet’s visit and to add more of a question.

How long do you estimate it took you  from that conversation with your son to the finished product now available for purchase?

Six months, but that excludes the years I spent at primary school learning to write in the first place.

Is the book traditionally or self-published?

On Lucky Shores is self-published. I prefer the immediacy and control of the indie publishing scene, and what’s more, I retain a great share of the retail price.

What is the message conveyed in the book?

Hitchhiking musician should wear gloves. When trying to help the victim, Chet cuts his fingers. How can you play the guitar with cut fingertips?


Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in On Lucky Shores.

The cover shows Chet standing on Vantage Rock overlooking Little Lake. The photo encapsulates one of the main themes of the book—the mountains can offer solace and protection.


If you could invite two other authors over to your house for dinner, who would you choose?

Michaela Miles—she’s my best internet friend but lives in Brisbane, Australia, and we’ll probably never meet in person, but I’d love to.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—as a teenager, I read a compendium of Sherlock Holmes stories and fell in love with the crime thriller genre. I still have that book.

Do you have any particular rituals or good luck charms in your writing process?

Silence. I need total silence to write. My poor wife has to wear headphones when watching TV in the evenings.

Speaking of your wife, how does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

They all think it’s a fad. They ignore the fact that it’s been a fad of mine since 1985.

What do you do during your down time?

Down time? That does not compute, Will Robinson.

What book are you reading right now?

Michael Connelly’s, The Burning Room. I’ve read all of the Harry Bosch books.

If a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?

That’s easy, George Clooney. Or should I say, George Clooney’s driver. You know, he’s the one who looks like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family.

Yes, you told me that before in your last interview, but I see you’ve changed the answer a bit. George wasn’t available, I take it. Thanks, Kerry. As always, it’s a delightful to have you stop by Author Wednesday. Please come back when that sequel is ready!

Kerry_J_Donovan - Web pagesAbout Kerry: Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in Brittany with his wife of thirty-eight years. He has three children and three/four grandchildren, all of whom live in England. Family apart, Kerry has three loves: making furniture, sport, and writing (but not necessarily in that order).



Author Wednesday Interview, September 9, 2015


On Lucky Shores Amazon US

On Lucky Shores Amazon UK



DCI Jones Casebook Sean Freeman Amazon US

DCI Jones Casebook Sean Freeman Amazon UK


cropped-cropped-typewriter.jpgToday a favorite author of mine drops by o share her thoughts on her new novel. Francis Guenette has visited Author Wednesday several times. I’ve been a great fan of her Crater Lake Series, so I wondered how it would be to read a very different sort of book by her. She addresses that very issue from her perspective when she sat down to create her latest work, Maelstrom.Maelstrom 6x9 Cover JPEG


So here’s Francis to tell us a little bit about how it was to leave her friends at Crater Lake for a bit so she could bring Maelstrom to light.

Many thanks to Patricia for hosting me yet again on her blog. Pat has been a solid supporter of my books and I can’t thank her enough. She has posed me a challenging question to answer in light of my recent release of the stand-alone novel, Maelstrom.

How did it feel to switch writing genres and leave the Crater Lake Series behind?

I wondered more than once if I could manage. My main concern was how I would expand the room in my head to accommodate another group of characters. The abundance of personalities worried me more than any issue related to genre.

While working on Maelstrom, I confess to having all the doubts that a soon-to-be parent would have when contemplating the arrival of a second child. Will I love this new one? Will I have enough energy for child number two without scrimping on what I want to give to my first born?

In my novels, plot and setting are character driven. I can imagine myself writing in any genre as long as I am able to create fully-developed characters with well-thought out story arcs. A book’s setting becomes a matter of backdrop. In saying that, I don’t wish to denigrate the research, time and effort required to create a realistic arena in which to let loose one’s characters. For me, such work is governed by where the characters demand to be taken.

With the writing of Maelstrom, I discovered that the prime real estate in my head could only be occupied by one group of characters at a time. The Crater Lake gang had to be willing to wait in the wings and at times, I had to push them back with force. They are a demanding group!

With Maelstrom finished and launched out into the world, I am currently storyboarding the next book in the Crater Lake series. What joy to discover that I have a whole crew of characters who are more than willing to accept an invitation to take up residence once again in my thoughts.

About Maelstrom 

A shot is fired into the still night air and a young woman dies on Suicide Ridge. A dangerous game has begun. Over the course of one blistering, hot week, winds of change sweep through an isolated valley in small town America.

Sheriff Bert Calder, with the help of Mayor Amos Thatcher, has held the town of Haddon under his thumb for twenty-five years. As things spin out of control, Calder works the angles, ensuring he can make the most of the upheaval that is to come.

Rafael Destino, facing his own mortality, races against time to gain control of the railroad – a lifeline essential to the town’s survival. His goal – to financially destroy Thatcher, the man he believes responsible for the death of his beloved sister. His tool – adopted son Myhetta. But how far down the road of revenge will Rafael push the young man who owes him everything?

Myhetta is poised on the edge of controlling Destino Enterprises, the job he has been groomed for. While money, power, and influence are his to command, the past continues to torment him.

In a clash of powerful men, with fathers pitted against sons, no one will be left unscathed. Maelstrom is a page turner that speeds along like a runaway train.

Francis Guenette - author photoAbout Francis:  Francis Guenette has spent all of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their off-grid, lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor and researcher.


Website – Disappearing in Plain Sight

Crater Lake Series

Purchase Maelstrom by clicking on links below.

Amazon US

Amazon CA

Amazon UK

Author Wednesday Posts

November 6, 2013

May 21, 2014

May 27, 2015

Book Review Friday – Crater Lake Series

Disappearing in Plain Sight

The Light Never Lies

Chasing Down the Night




cropped-typewriter.jpgI’m excited to welcome James Moushon to Author Wednesday today. James has been a tireless supporter and promoter of Indie Authors, so it gives me great pleasure to return the favor. He stops by today to talk about his latest release, Operation Alpha Dog, a collection of short stories, featuring the character Jonathon Stone.moushon1-alphadog300

Welcome, James! I’m so happy to have you here today. Let’s start with some information about you as a writer. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

Actually, I have been both. In 1994, I became a published writer in national business magazines. At that time, I was writing about the coming digital conversion of books and business forms and what it would do to companies and their products.

In 2011, I became a published author with the release of my first novel, Call Off the Dogs. This title is being rewritten with the working title: Cajun Ghost (release date in the Spring 2016).

Do all your books have a common theme or thread? 

All my books are centered around my main character, Jonathon Stone. Jonathon is a CIA agent, working domestically for a secret CIA division called DOT. Because the CIA isn’t allowed to operate in the U.S. by law, this division is off the books. Jonathon attempts to catch terrorists and assassins while he struggles with drinking, gambling, and the ladies.

Sounds like a bad boy American James Bond. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

It comes from a review for Operation Alpha Dog:

These stories… don’t waste any time and jump straight into the action. Some excellent plot ideas that work well in the short space given to them, quite different in locations and style but all very compelling and rewarding reading. So good, I devoured it in one sitting.

What’s your one sentence pitch the new collection of short stories?

A six-pack of complete Jonathon Stone Mystery short stories filled with murder, mystery, and espionage.

Sounds intriguing! How long do you estimate it took you to write, and then publish, this collection?

There are six unique stories. I would estimate two months of writing and editing, but the elapsed time was much longer.

Is the book traditionally or self-published? 

This is a self-published collection. I started from the technical part of creating eBooks in 1994. That transferred to learning the whole publishing process. Choosing self-publishing was next.

You were really in at the beginning. I didn’t start until 2012 with the Indie Author movement, although I’d been published traditionally since 2000. What is the best thing someone could say about Operation Alpha Dog?

It is a quick, interesting read with twists and turns for the reader to enjoy.

That’s always good for readers living in such a fast-paced world. Explain how this book was conceived in your imagination.

The collection is an extension of Jonathon Stone Mystery series and the various assignment the CIA has had Stone conduct.

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

This is part of the fun I have writing. I very seldom write about a location I haven’t lived or visited. I study terrorism, the CIA inner workings, current events and specifics of the locations Stone must visit to carry out the op.

I love doing the research for my books as well. Not everyone does, so that’s a good start. Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

Jonathon Stone catches an assassin in “Operation Red Dragon.”

Jonathon Stone’s plans for a quiet gambling experience is interrupted by the sighting of a known gun for hire from Mexico. A casual weekend in the desert for Jonathon changes into an apparent assassination plot. With the FBI and the Secret Service involved, Jonathon tries to apprehend the elusive hit man before he can do damage.

Thank you so much for stopping by Author Wednesday, James. I wish you great success with this new collection of short stories. And I hope you’ll stop by again–maybe for a guest post on the wisdom you’ve gained through your experience and research on being an Indie Author.

moushon1About James:  James Moushon is a Mystery author and a published writer in the electronic document field. He is the author of the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels. He has published two books: Black Mountain Secrets and Game of Fire, and Operation Alpha Dog, a collection of short stories featuring Jonathon Stone. He is currently wearing two hats. He is a mystery author and a book publishing blogger.

Social media sites

Website: James Moushon – Mystery Writer

Author’s Blog: eBook Author’s Corner

Blog: HBS Author’s Spotlight

Blog: HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Twitter: @jimhbs


Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads

Google+: Check Out Google+

Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Spotlight post with Profile + Interview: HBS Author’s Spotlight

Amazon Author Profile

Links to books

Black Mountain Secrets

Game of Fire

Operation Alpha Dog